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The Dansville Online
  • DCS valedictorian speech: Jessica Krause

  • Ms. Maichle and Mr. Kewin, before you go to enjoy retirement, I have one last English paper to give you. It’s not on Shakespeare, Harper Lee, Sherman Alexie or Thoreau; nor Emerson, the Brontë sisters or even Edger Allen Poe; but rather, it’s on the legendary Theodor Geisel. You may know him better as the beloved Dr. Seuss.

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  • Ms. Maichle and Mr. Kewin, before you go to enjoy retirement, I have one last English paper to give you. It’s not on Shakespeare, Harper Lee, Sherman Alexie or Thoreau; nor Emerson, the Brontë sisters or even Edger Allen Poe; but rather, it’s on the legendary Theodor Geisel. You may know him better as the beloved Dr. Seuss.
    Congratulations!
    Today is your day.
    You’re off to Great Places!
    You’re off and away!
    You have brains in your head.
    You have feet in your shoes
    You can steer yourself
    In any direction you choose.
    You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
    And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.
    These optimistic words from Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” are fitting for the transition period that today brings. We stand here today on a border; today is the only thing separating our shared adventures in high school from our individual journeys that lie ahead. Just like me, I’m sure all of us are feeling excited for this next step, but maybe, also, a little bit afraid. As Dr. Seuss said, we’re on our own now. It’s our turn to decide where to go … But what if we don’t know where to go? What if, when someone asks us that age old question, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” we have absolutely no idea. Our childhood is ending, if not over and we find ourselves having to take on new adult responsibilities and it can be a bit overwhelming.
    But it’s okay. We may not know what career we want in life, but we do know we want to find success and happiness. Fortunately for us, we already have the tools necessary to achieve these things, because, believe or not, there’s no secret to success. No hidden door with a special locked combination. We must simply use the tools we have learned at DHS to achieve greatness.
    These tools that I’m speaking about are as simple as a commitment that can’t be broken paired with a passion for our work. These traits are exhibited everyday here. The swim teams, for example, demonstrated their commitment to success every morning and afternoon with three hour practices six days a week, on top of the countless hours spent on their own perfecting starts and turns. The football team showed us their perseverance on the field each week as they tried to build a winning season. And if you looked at the expression on the faces of each cross country participant during a race, you would find a fiery passion in their eyes to cross that finish line first. Our Dansville Chamber Singers got up for 6 a.m. practices and devoted themselves entirely to become the best and they had an amazing time in the process. In the end, this passion and commitment led to sectional wins by the swim teams, an overwhelming winning season for cross country and first place at states for chamber singers. However, each and every one of our extracurricular teams found success. That success didn’t come in the form of a trophy or medal. It came with those hours devoted to doing what they loved. That is success. As a result of this commitment and passion, honors and triumphs were simply a great bonus. Now, we must apply this beyond our high school walls into the real world. But we also should remember that it’s not going to be easy. Dr. Seuss cautions us:
    You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?
    Page 2 of 2 - You can get so confused that you’ll start to race, headed, I fear, towards a most useless place.
    The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.
    No! That’s not for you! Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.
    Dr. Seuss may call it the place where the Boom Bands are playing, but we refer to this as the state of success and happiness. How do we find that happiness? That million dollar question has been around much longer than Dr. Seuss himself and the answer may be different for each and every one of us. We must take the extra step for ourselves and go beyond expectations, to create an unfathomed world of opportunities. Even beyond that, we must take the extra step towards others.
    Last spring, I discovered this firsthand. I could help lead a charity golf tournament or stay in the background and continue my daily routine. I could devote every spare study hall, extended period, weekend, night, break and lunch period to putting forth my full effort in raising money for the research and treatment of breast cancer, or relax and stay home. I chose to take a stand and organized a small five person team that devoted three months to the “Play 4 Pink” golf tournament.
    Looking from the outside, one might have seen almost excessive preparation for a one day golf tournament. What we saw was something very different; our impact. At the day of the event, one breast cancer survivor came up to us at the conclusion of the tournament and said, “Thank you. Tournaments like this really do make a difference.” But more than her words, her eyes are what spoke the most and her sincerity could have touched even Scrooge’s heart. In that moment, I knew I had found my place where the Boom Bands are playing.
    If I hadn’t taken the extra step to devote myself to this tournament, I wouldn’t have been able to experience the beaming success of donating $6,000 to breast cancer and satisfaction of knowing that I made a difference. If I can touch other lives with the simple decision to take the extra step, imagine what could happen if we all decided, once we walk out of this hot gymnasium, that we’re going to take the extra step, go the extra mile, lend an extra helping hand…Together, we’d move mountains.
    So…
    Be your name Danny, Jenna, Nick, Steve, or Bob
    Or Sando, Emily, Jade, Sarah, or Rob,
    We’re off to Great Places!
    Today is our day!
    Our mountains are waiting
    So, class of 2011, let’s get on our way!

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